My son is generally a very confident little guy and can talk his way out of a paper bag. Since becoming a big brother in June 2010 he's been very insitant on his place as a "big" boy. Part of that has been his desire to not show fear. He finds excuses not to go to our neighbors house because he is afraid of their dogs. He won't tell you that but he is. According to him he is "Just not too sure of what they will do next, but not afraid." One thing he is openly afraid of are mascots... so as you can imagine we have not had a family trip to the "Happiest Place On Earth."
So Halloween is always a slightly anxiety inducing because I am never sure how he will react or how much I should protect him vs encourage him to face fears in a safe place.
This year I decided to be proactive and together we looked at the scary costumes in a Halloween flyer that came early this month. He got to see the costumes in a safe place, we looked at them all and he told me he wasn't afraid. Then later that week we went to the Halloween store and were met at the door with scary decorations. I told him he could close his eyes and I would guide him to the Star Wars costumes, but he declined. He told me that he remembered the flyer and that these were just decorations. Although I could tell he took a deep breath as we walked past. After buying his Clone Trooper costume we had to go past the display again. I looked at him and asked him if he could guide me. He puffed out his little chest and gave me his hand.
"I'll protect you Mama!"
I am not a psychologist but I know that as an adult I still run up the stairs after I turn off the light, wake my husband to check on weird sounds at 2am...not because I live in fear but because I have a vivid and creative imagination. Something I want my son to have too! When my husband is not there I check on the weird house sounds myself, kill the hairy spiders who get too close to my kids and would wrestle a shark if my kids were in danger. I think my son will be fine this Halloween even if I have to ask him to protect me a few times.
How do you deal with kids and fears?